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Joe Perry tackles 2 iconic roles in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Joe Perry plays the lead roles in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which starts performances Saturday night at Vertigo Mystery Theatre in Calgary. (Costumes by Jordan Wieben. Photo: Fifth Wall Media) Joe Perry plays the lead roles in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which starts performances Saturday night at Vertigo Mystery Theatre in Calgary. (Costumes by Jordan Wieben. Photo: Fifth Wall Media)
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Playing one legendarily complex character in a play is hard enough work for most actors.

That's not stopping Calgary actor Joe Perry from playing two in the same iconic show. Perry is one of the stars of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, playwright Nick Lane's adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic.

CTV Morning Live correspondent Adrianna Zhang sat down with Perry Thursday to talk about the show.

Q: Did you know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde before doing the part?

JP: I find that the narrative of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is found in so many different pop culture references – anywhere from The Nutty Professor to Marvel movies - I mean these are all retellings of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

It's just such an interesting vehicle to explore the duality of humanity, which I think most art is attempting to do anyhow, so – without knowing it, I think we've all been exposed to the Jekyll and Hyde story pretty consistently, but going back to Robert Louis Stevenson's original text, I just went back for the first time before this play – it's been super interesting to get into.

Joe Perry plays the lead roles in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which starts performances Saturday night at Vertigo Mystery Theatre in Calgary. (Costumes by Jordan Wieben. Photo: Fifth Wall Media)

Q. This production is the North American premiere of Nick Lane's adaptation. How do you find it?

A. It's interesting. In the telling of the story, sometimes Hyde becomes this monstrous other thing – who isn't quite a person – but in this adaptation, it's very close between Jekyll and Hyde physically, so finding the differences between the two characters, making them distinguishable, and very separate entities, was a pretty intense challenge. (Director) Javier (Vilalta) has such a beautiful, movement-based esthetic that allows a lot of freedom but also a lot of challenge expressing these characters in a fully-bodied, fully-extended sort of way.

Q. There's a slightly different musical approach in this production from Lane's adaptation. How difficult was that?

A. To be honest, I get the pleasure of being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde more often than I'm playing music (onstage) – there's a little bit (of the play) where I'm playing guitar, but the real musicians, Grant Tilly, Daniel Fong and Ally Lynch, lend such a beautiful tapestry of sound – not only with their voices but also their instruments to underscore the entire story – so I kind of get off the hook a little bit in that regard, but those three, what they bring to the project is so beautiful and unparalleled.

Performances start Saturday at Vertigo Mystery Theatre and run through Oct. 29.  For more information about Vertigo Theatre, go here.

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